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It is Saturday morning. My 5-year-old son has a fever and is crying as he holds his left ear, cringing with pain. My husband is gone with our older son and I am home with our two younger sons. I realize I have no choice but to take my son in to see a doctor. What are my options? Our pediatrician is only open for a few hours and is usually booked solid on a Saturday. The pediatric urgent care is a half hour away. I don’t even want to think about how long I would have to wait with a five and two year old at a regular urgent care. Then I remembered that two drug store chains have certain locations that have clinic and a nurse practitioner on site. After a few minutes of searching locations online, I find one that is five minutes from my house with this service. As the cries from my son grow louder, I grab my purse, keys, shoes and kids, in hopes that the wait won’t be long.
I easily find the clinic in the back of the store near the pharmacy. I check in at the computer and find out that there are two people ahead of us. Each visit lasts about 30 minutes and the wait for a sick five year old, energetic two-year-old and their also sick Mom was almost unbearable. At last, my son’s name is called and the three of us hover in the doorway as the medical professional inside quickly wipes down the room with cleaning cloths.
She completes our information in the computer and asked for my insurance card. After checking my plan, she informs me that my insurance doesn’t cover the visit. My son is lying in pain on the table and we have just waited longer than an hour to be seen. There is no question in my mind as I stare at my sick little boy, “I will pay for it,” I tell her. The diagnosis for my son is an ear infection and probable strep. In the time that we have been waiting, he has developed a full body rash, likely caused by the strep. I pay the $84 dollars and prepare myself to wait another 15 minutes for his prescription to be filled.
The very next day, we are back for another hour and a half wait, this time for my oldest son, who is running a fever and complaining of a sore throat, as well as for myself.